Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Sneaky Errors in 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee

The 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee issue includes the rookie cards of Bill Barber, Billy Smith, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, Bob Nystrom, Terry O'Reilly and Larry Robinson. But the set also comes with a few sneaky errors and variations.

Two cards are missing the black border around the team nicknames on the front. Here's card #43 Bryan Hextall of the Pittsburgh Penguins:


And suffering the same type of error is rookie card #44 for Chuck Lefley of the Montreal Canadiens:
 

The error on card #37 Ted McAneeley takes the mistake a step further by omitting both the border and the Golden Seals nickname:


Bryan Hextall's card #43 is involved in yet a third error where the bio on the back is that of his brother, Dennis. The wrong bio back card was issued first, then correct but with the missing border on the front, and then corrected a third and final time to include the correct bio and black border.



And of course Dennis Hextall's card #115 comes in both error (top) and corrected (bottom) versions.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Two Sets of Kellogg's NHL Hockey Discs:1984-85 & 1985-86

Overlooked by most every hockey card guide and checklist is the fact that there are two distinct sets of Kellogg's NHL Hockey Discs. The first set from 1984-85 includes 36 discs (unnumbered) as listed at the bottom of this post with 1983-84 date and stats on the back.


Updates & Four Substitutions in 1985-86
The next year, the set was updated with 1984-85 date and stats on the back, and the replacement of four players due to trades: Dan Daoust to replace John Anderson, Dennis Herron to replace Rick Kehoe, Bob Gainey to replace Guy Lafleur, and Dave Poulin to replace Darryl Sittler. The fronts of the other cards remained unchanged. The checklist for this second set is also listed at the bottom of this post.

Where most checklists miss the mark is they refer to the four replacement players as variations of cards in a single set. In fact, there are two distinct sets that can be recognized by the dates and corresponding stats on the back of each card.



Identical Stanley Cup Discs...
To add to the confusion, there is no discernible difference between the two Stanley Cup disc versions, and no date appears anywhere. The only ways to truly tell if you have a 1984-85 or 1985-86 version of the Cup disc would be to have it as part of an original attached panel of 6 cards, and looking for the date on the back of those adjoined cards.
...But Differences in Pucks?
In terms of distribution, a panel of 6 perforated discs were included inside a two-piece plastic puck in specially marked packages of Kellogg's Cereals in Canada. I believe that the pucks from each year were also slightly different. By finding instant prize messages inscribed on the inside of the pucks, one could win sports equipment, such as hockey jerseys, skates, sport bags or hockey sticks. "SORRY, PLEASE TRY AGAIN." was predictably the most common message received. But you'll also find pucks--I'd argue from the second year when there were no prizes offered--that do not have any messaging inside.


1984-85 Kellogg's NHL Discs (has 1983-84 stats on back)
John Anderson
Mike Bossy
Barry Beck
Dave Babych
Richard Brodeur
Dino Ciccarelli
Paul Coffey
Marcel Dionne
Bernie Federko
Ron Francis
Mike Garnter
Michel Goulet
Thomas Gradin
Dale Hawerchuk
Dale Hunter
Rick Kehoe
Jari Kurri
Guy Lafleur
Reed Larson
Kevin Lowe
Paul MacLean
Lanny McDonald
Rick Middleton
Gilbert Perrault
Paul Reinhart
Glenn Resch
Doug Risebrough
Larry Robinson
Borje Salming
Darryl Sittler
Stan Smyl
Peter Stastny
Mario Tremblay
Rick Vaive
Doug Wilson
Stanley Cup

1985-86 Kellogg's NHL Discs (has 1984-85 stats on back)
Mike Bossy
Barry Beck
Dave Babych
Richard Brodeur
Dino Ciccarelli
Paul Coffey
Dan Daoust
Marcel Dionne
Bernie Federko
Ron Francis
Bob Gainey
Mike Garnter
Michel Goulet
Thomas Gradin
Dale Hawerchuk
Dennis Herron
Dale Hunter
Jari Kurri
Reed Larson
Kevin Lowe
Paul MacLean
Lanny McDonald
Rick Middleton
Gilbert Perrault
Dave Poulin
Paul Reinhart
Glenn Resch
Doug Risebrough
Larry Robinson
Borje Salming
Stan Smyl
Peter Stastny
Mario Tremblay
Rick Vaive
Doug Wilson
Stanley Cup

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Konstantinov & Lidstrom 1991-92 OPC Premier Error Card

I recently picked up one of the rarest corrected error cards from hockey’s junk wax era: 1991-92 OPC Premier #118a Vladimir Konstantinov rookie card. The back incorrectly pictures fellow rookie Nicklas Lidstrom, a mistake that was corrected fairly quickly.

 

 

My copy is graded 9.5 gem mint by Beckett, with sub-grades of 9 for surface, 9.5 for centering, and 10s for edges and corners. A nice card for sure.

 

 

Konstantinov was a tough-hitting Russian defenseman drafted late in the 1989 draft by the Detroit Red Wings. He was part of “The Russian Five” which included Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov and Vyacheslav Kozlov. They helped the Red Wings capture the Stanley Cup in 1997.

 

Following a golf outing as part of celebrating the Cup win, Konstantinov was involved in a tragic limousine accident that cut short his career. He spent several weeks in a coma, and suffered from serious head injuries and paralysis.

 

The Red Wings won The Cup again in 1998, but Konstantinov was confined to a wheelchair and unable to ever play again. The team successfully requested to have his name engraved on the trophy, making Konstantinov a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

Friday, July 19, 2019

O-Pee-Chee Box Toppers

Who knew that the packaging from hockey cards we used to throw away as kids would become collectable? Some collectors fancy unopened waxpacks, boxes and cases. The wrappers of OPC packs from the 1970s, 80s and 90s come in different versions. And the wax boxes started featuring actual “box bottom” cards in 1985-86 that were meant to be collected.

But do you remember Pat Lafontaine of the Islanders on the box top?


The very first box topper was Clark Gillies in 1984-85:


Patrick Roy from 1986-87:


Michel Goulet from 1987-88:


Mario Lemieux from 1988-89:


Al MacInnis from 1989-90:


Carefully cut from the box, these blank-back cards can be inserted into sleeves and stored like regular cards. But the next two years featured images of cards more as part of the box’s design.

Here's the combo of Bill Ranford and Cam Neely from 1990-91:


Next up was Ed Belfour and Mario Lemieux in 1991-92:


And just in case you might be running out of stuff to collect, how about those mini-cards that sometimes adorned the side of the OPC wax boxes or box sets? I guess you have to draw the line somewhere, don't you?


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

1976-77 O-Pee-Chee Goalie Errors

Standard checklists will tell you the 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee hockey set numbers 396 cards. But if you're a completist, that number bumps up to 399 with the addition of a few goalie errors.

Gary Simmons is card #176, and there are three different version of his OPC card. All three varieties picture Simmons in his California Seals jersey. The team would transfer to Cleveland and be known as the Barons to start the 1976-77 season. OPC tried to keep up with the change by using the Barons monicker across the top of the card and printing "Team transferred to Cleveland" on most of the new Barons cards. Just not for Simmons.

Around the same time, the Kansas City Scouts were moving to Colorado to become the Rockies. OPC noted those cards by printing "Team transferred to Colorado." Simmons got mixed up in all franchise changes taking place.


The card on the left is the most common corrected version with the transfer phrase removed. The card on the right is the earliest error version incorrectly denoting "Team Transferred to Colorado" on the front. The card in the middle is an even rarer version featuring a very poor attempt by OPC to airbrush (or smear) the error away.

A second error that needed to be corrected in the 1976-77 OPC issue dots card #331 of Gary Inness. The mistake is so small it is almost imperceptible.


Give up? The Flyers logo atop the card on the left has a yellow dot in the center. It has been altered to Philly orange in the more common corrected card on the right.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

1979-80 Alta-Dena Kings & Lakers with Souvenir Folder

This unnumbered eight-card set was sponsored by California-based Alta-Dena Dairy. The cards are slightly larger than standard, measuring approximately 2 3/4" by 4".

This set features Los Angeles Kings (Marcel Dionne, Butch Goring, Mike Murphy and Dave Taylor) and Los Angeles Lakers (Adrian Dantley, Norm Nixon, Don Ford and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Both teams were owned by Jerry Buss at the time.


The back of each card features an offer for youngsters 14-and-under to present the complete eight-card set in the souvenir folder to the Forum Box Office and receive a half-price discount on certain tickets to any one of the Lakers and Kings games listed on the reverse of the card.


The set was probably released in the late summer of 1979 since Adrian Dantley was traded to Utah for Spencer Haywood on September 13.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

1987-88 Shell Vancouver Canucks Set

This 24-card set of Vancouver Canucks was sponsored by Shell Oil and released only in British Columbia, Canada. It was issued as eight different three-card panels, with the cards measuring the standard size after perforation (2 1/2" by 3 1/2"). The cardstock is rather thick, and gives each card some nice heft and sturdiness.


The cards were distributed as a promotion for Shell Oil, with one panel per week given out at participating Shell stations. Included with the cards was a coupon offering a $5 discount on tickets to the Canucks games.

The front features a color head and shoulders shot of the player, with the Canucks logo superimposed at the upper left hand corner of the picture. The player's name, position, and the Formula Shell logo appear below the picture. The cards are unnumbered, and the backs provide biographical and career information on each player.

The 1987-88 Canucks finished last in the Smythe division and out of the playoffs for the second season in a row. A big reason for the failed season was a 12-game winless streak in February and March where the team lost 10, including 9 in a row, and tied twice. The Canucks were never able to put more than two consecutive wins together the entire season.

Kirk McLean's card from the set predates his OPC rookie card by two years. As a rookie for the Canucks he appeared in 41 games, and would go on to backstop the team for 11 seasons before being dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes in 1998.